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Scientists say child's play helps build a better brain
NPR
When it comes to brain development, time in the classroom may be less important than time on the playground. "The experience of play changes the connections of the neurons at the front end of your brain," says Sergio Pellis, a researcher at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada. "And without play experience, those neurons aren't changed," he says.
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Schools brace for up to 50,000 migrant kids
USA Today
Schools across the USA are bracing for as many as 50,000 immigrant children who would start school this fall, most of them unaccompanied by their families. "We haven't started school yet, so we are all just holding our breath to see what's going to come on the first day of school," says Caroline Woodason, assistant director of school support for Dalton Public Schools in Georgia. Under federal law, all children are entitled to a free public education, regardless of their immigration status.
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Can young students master digital writing assessments?
eSchool News
A new pilot study reveals that fourth grade students are well-equipped to successfully take computer-based writing assessments. The National Center for Education Statistics conducted the National Assessment of Educational Progress Grade 4 Writing Computer-Based Assessment study to determine if fourth-grade students were in fact able to effectively use computers to complete a writing assessment.
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A summer of extra reading and hope for fourth grade
The New York Times
Educators like to say that third grade is the year when students go from "learning to read" to "reading to learn." Yet one afternoon last month, there was Anthony, a 10-year-old whose small frame was highlighted by baggy black cargo shorts, struggling with "Tiny the Snow Dog," a picture book with only a handful of words per page. "This is Tiny," he read to his teacher, Holly Bryant. "He is my dog."
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The lowdown on longhand: How writing by hand benefits the brain
Edutopia (commentary)
Ainissa Ramirez, a contributor for Edutopia, writes: "My Catholic school third grade teacher was extremely tough on me. Her biggest gripe was my handwriting, which looks more like an EKG scan than penmanship. For years, I harbored not-so-fond memories of her, but now I know that her strictness about penmanship was actually helping my brain develop. Recently, scientists have shown that longhand writing benefits the brain. Today, cursive writing is becoming a lost art as note taking with laptops becomes more and more prominent in classrooms. But what we are losing is much bigger than a few scratches on a page — we are losing a robust way of learning."
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What are the most powerful uses of tech for learning?
MindShift
When we talk about the digital divide in education, the discussions revolve mainly around two factors: lack of access to the internet and lack of knowing how to use that access in powerful ways that can fuel learning beyond consuming content. There are a lot of powerful tools for change available to educators and plenty of creative, inspired educators working hard to put available technology to work in classrooms. A lack of excellence is not the problem in education; access to technology and guidance for participating in the digital space in powerful ways are much bigger challenges.
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4 ideas to have a successful first year as principal
Connected Principals (commentary)
George Couros, a contributor for Connected Principals blog, writes: "I am so intrigued by the number of people that are jumping into principal positions. It is truly one of the best jobs in the world. It is also one of the toughest. As a new principal, if you move to implement changes too fast, you risk straining relationships. Sometimes you need to move slow to go fast. Here are some things that I have learned from my school leadership successes and failures."
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The pros and cons of school vouchers
By: Archita Datta Majumdar
The school voucher program has always been controversial, but never has the debate raged as it is now. Also called educational vouchers, these are basically certificates issued by state governments that allow parents to take their child's portion of per-pupil spending and reallocate the funds to private schools instead of the public school in their assigned school districts. Of course, nothing is as simple as it sounds. There is a growing dichotomy between the pros and cons offered by this program.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    What to do when district mistakes go viral (District Administration Magazine)
Learning to read may take longer than we thought (NPR)
5 essential ingredients for learning (SPLAT) (Connected Principals)
Can special education students keep up with the Common Core? (The Hechinger Report)
30 classroom procedures to head off behavior problems (Scholastic)

Don't be left behind. Click here to see what else you missed.


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Why some schools are selling all their iPads
The Atlantic
For an entire school year Hillsborough, New Jersey, educators undertook an experiment, asking: Is the iPad really the best device for interactive learning? It's a question that has been on many minds since 2010, when Apple released the iPad and schools began experimenting with it. The devices came along at a time when many school reformers were advocating to replace textbooks with online curricula and add creative apps to lessons. Some teachers welcomed the shift, which allowed their students to replace old poster-board presentations with narrated screencasts and review teacher-produced video lessons at any time.
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5 ways to choose and use K-5 apps, mobile devices
eSchool News
Students are typically not shy about showing their enthusiasm for using the latest mobile devices, and they're eager to share apps with teachers and friends. Sometimes, teachers are so excited by their students' enthusiasm that they dive right into using mobile devices and apps without laying important ground rules that, when followed, yield lasting educational experiences.
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Is school testing driving parents away from their child's school?
The Washington Post (commentary)
John Sides, a contributor for The Washington Post, writes: "In a newly published article, University of Massachusetts political scientist Jesse Rhodes investigates how state education reforms may affect parents' engagement in their child's school. I asked him some questions about his research and his disconcerting conclusions. A lightly edited transcript follows."
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These are the states with the best and worst school systems, according to new rankings
The Huffington Post
A new education ranking found that students in New Jersey are receiving a much better education than students in Mississippi. The ranking, from the personal finance site Wallethub, outlines the best and worst states for K-12 education, given the connection between one's education and future earning potential. The ranking was based on 12 factors, including student dropout rate, pupil/teacher ratio, test scores, rates of bullying and school safety measures.
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Removing vending machines from schools may not help in lowering soda consumption
Science World Report
Removing vending machines from schools might not be effective in lowering soda consumption among students, a new study has found. The researchers at the University of Illinois, Chicago, evaluated whether vending machines in schools affected the daily intake of soda and other unhealthy fast foods outside schools when combined with factors such as tax rates and soda bans in schools. They mainly focused on regular intake of fast food and soda.
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US reviews of standards, tests enter new phase
Education Week
The U.S. Department of Education is on the verge of releasing the first draft of new guidance on the peer-review process for standards and tests, a document that could exert a powerful influence on how states set academic expectations. Little known outside the assessment world, the process is wonky and technical. But it is an important tool for the federal agency in reviewing — and shaping — states' academic standards and testing systems.
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Rethinking the K-12 wireless landscape with E-rate 2.0
EdTech Magazine
When the FCC approved E-rate 2.0, it must have felt a little like Christmas for some district technology directors. A divided FCC voted in July on a package of massive changes to its 18-year-old telecommunications subsidy program for schools and libraries. The newly revised E-rate adds $1 billion to target wireless broadband connections in schools and libraries, with another $1 billion the following year. It also eases the process for schools and libraries to apply for these funds and lowers the barrier of entry for high-poverty applicants.
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Schools brace for up to 50,000 migrant kids
USA Today
Schools across the USA are bracing for as many as 50,000 immigrant children who would start school this fall, most of them unaccompanied by their families.

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Maximizing PLC time to flip your class
District Administration Magazine
Recently, we have been talking with a number of people about how to best implement flipped learning, and one hurdle mentioned over and over by teachers is that they do not have enough time.

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5 apps for today's administrators
eSchool News
Leading a school or a school district is, understandably, an important and critical job. Today's school administrators must keep up to date with learning trends, instructional strategies, technology initiatives, and everything in between.

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Los Angeles school turnaround sets sights on reinventing the library
EdSurge
Back in 2008, charter system Green Dot Public Schools reclaimed Alain Leroy Locke High School, a failing Los Angeles Unified school in the city of Watts that was once called "a broken district high school" by education writer Alexander Russo. Change has come slowly since. Years after Green Dot founder Steve Barr renamed the school to Alain LeRoy Locke College Preparatory Academy (or colloquially Locke College Prep) and elected to split the school's campus into four separate academies, a report conducted in July 2011 by UCLA's National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing demonstrated that Locke's overall performance remained low when compared to other U.S. schools.
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Achievement improves in New Orleans schools, challenges remain, says report
Education Week
In the nearly 10 years since Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans, the school system has undergone a series of dramatic changes, chief among them the decentralizing of the school system in which 91 percent of the children now attend charter schools. Decentralization, however, has had mixed results, bringing with it a unique set of challenges, according to a new report released Wednesday, "The State of Public Education in New Orleans, 2014," by Patrick Sims and Debra Vaughan of the Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives at Tulane University.
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Upcoming webinars explore middle-level tools, playground safety
NAESP
Join NAESP for two learning opportunities in August. First, on Wednesday, Aug. 20, principal Matthew Saferite will present a webinar on using middle-level tools to improve teacher development. Second, on Tuesday, Aug. 26, two playground experts will explore common safety hazards and techniques principals can use to keep students safe. Both presentations are free. Sign up, and view archived webinars, at NAESP's webinar page.
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Back-to-school strategies: Beginning BYOD
NAESP
Will students be using their own tech devices in your classrooms this fall? If you're starting a BYOD — bring your own device — program this fall, make sure to read this primer from Pennsylvania principals Jonathan Ross and Nicholas Indeglio. They recommend principals explore these three key questions when embarking with BYOD.
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Before the Bell is a benefit of your membership in the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). For information about other member benefits, visit www.naesp.org or contact us at naesp@naesp.org.

Before the Bell is a digest of the most important news selected for NAESP from thousands of sources by the editors of MultiBriefs, an independent organization that also manages and sells advertising. The presence of such advertising does not endorse, or imply endorsement of, any products or services by NAESP. Neither NAESP nor Multiview is liable for the use of or reliance on any information contained in this briefing.

Feedback about an article? Contact NAESP Liaison Meredith Barnett at MBarnett@naesp.org.
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